a. Police and security
The general emergencies number is 112.
The main police body in Lisbon is called the PSP (Polícia de Segurança Social). You can find a list of all the police stations in the city center in this link.
In the event of a problem, we recommend you to go to the police station in Restauradores or in Santa Apolonia. Both are open 24h, and the workers there speak multiple languages besides Portuguese.
In non-urban areas, the responsable security body is the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR).
b. Safety tips
Lisbon is a very safe city overall, however, as in any major city, incidents can happen sometimes. The most common type of issue you may run into is pickpocketing. This are some general tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid going out with large amounts of cash in areas like Bairro Alto or Cais Sodré.
- Try to stay in a group if you are taking the transports at late hours (nightbuses, metro, trains). Be aware of your surroundings.
- If you or a friend are under the influence of alcohol, don't stay alone!
- Some large clubs in Lisbon have a system where you are given a card at the door, and then the money you spend inside is charged in the card, instead of you paying with regular money or a bank card. You return the card to the bouncer ar the door when you leave. If you ordered drinks, you are supposed to pass by the check-out before leaving to pay for them. Don't lose the club card, or they will charge you a large amount as a penalty (even if you didn't order any drinks).
- Take care of your bags and electronics if you are sitting outside, on a terrace.
- Avoid drug dealers in the downtown area and Martim Moniz. Drug dealing is actually penalized in Portugal. Often time police does not arrest them simply because they are not selling actual drugs.
- If you are riding the public transports (particularly tram 28), keep your belongings where you can see them.
- Don't leave your belongings unattended if you are at the beach on a busy day.
- The normal price range for a room in the city center should go from 250€ to 350€, for a mid-sized room with a window. If somebody is asking you much more than that for a room in not a good condition, far away from the center, think about it twice before taking it.
- Don't send large amounts of money to an unverified source. Gather as much information about the owner as you can, or use verified portals like Uniplaces to avoid any problems. Ask for pictures of the house, information on flatmates, and check the address on Google Maps.
- Also, ask your owner for a contract or some written document as proof of the housing arrangement. Sometimes they won't provide one, but it does not hurt to ask.
- In a similar way, it is better if you make payments by bank, rather than by hand, to keep some track.
- Facebook groups can be a good resource to find a house, because some other flatmates may be posting the ad on behalf of the owner, so you will have some feedback on the house. However, be careful, and don't just take a stranger's word unless they give you the actual contact with the owner.
- We know you may feel a bit in a rush if you are house hunting in Lisbon months like August or January. Even if you want to save as much money as possible, it is probably better to use a verified portal and pay the service fee than risking being tricked if you feel that something is not completely right about a house offer.
- Alternatively, you can also come earlier and check in a hostel for a few days to house hunt in person.
c. Country embassies
The Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (Immigration and borders service) takes care of visas, residence permits, and similar matters. You can find their site here.